Megatron chases Sparkplug, his Mini-Con comrades and the kids, but they manage to escape him. Meanwhile, the Autobots and the rest of the Decepticons have arrived. The 'Cons attack an army base and reconfigure themselves using the army vehicles as templates. They then track down the escaping Mini-Cons and as they are about to attack the Autobots intervene.
Issue
004
Writer
Chris Sarracini
Pencils
James Raiz
Inks
Rob Armstrong/Erik Sander
Colours
Ramil Sunga / Alan Wang / Felipe Smith
Release date
01/11/2002
Autobots featured
Optimus Prime, Hot Shot, Smokescreen, Red Alert, Scavenger
Decepticons featured
Megatron, Starscream, Cyclonus, Demolishor
Humans featured
Sparkplug, Grindor, SureShock, Highwire, Rad, Carlos, Alexis, Ms Ruby
Origin of
Death of
First appearance
Ms Ruby
Locations featured
Science City, USA
Story synopsis
We start off with an elementary class at a dam. Insert obligatory 'dam/n' joke here. This trip is cut short by the arrival of Optimus Prime and the Autobots via space bridge, which causes the natives to go a'runnin. Prime then orders the group to search for Mini-Cons while maintaining a low profile and when Smokescreen and Scavenger suggest that some brute force would provide quicker results, Prime blows his top. Tsk, tsk, he really should attend those anger management classes.

Meanwhile, Sparkplug's Mini-Cons and the kids are flying for their lives from an enraged Megatron. Scared out of their minds, the group tries to lose the Decepticon leader in some woods, but to no avail. They then fly through a tunnel, which allows them to escape as Megatron is too large to follow and he only succeeds in momentarily getting his hand stuck. Megatron then decides to check in on Starscream and co, who are terrorising an army base while looking for 'downloads.' They find the appropriate vehicles and 'download' them via a simple scanning beam, thus giving them their new Earthen alternative modes.

Elsewhere, the kids and Mini-Cons have returned to Rad's garage and Alexis is a tad upset. The Mini-Cons introduce themselves (which really should have been done last issue) and relate the Reader's Digest version of the civil war and the Mini-Con escape. Alexis is still peeved, which causes her and Rad to start arguing. Carlos breaks it up by dragging the two outside where they argue a little more before a lady runs down the street screaming about a giant monster. Sure that Megatron is on his way, the three kids want to start up Project Supernova, but the hovercraft is basically scrap. Instead, the Mini-Cons 'download' a bike, skateboard, scooter and car to provide some transportation.

Meanwhile, Megatron is getting impatient. He's ready to launch a full attack on the city, but not before Starscream injects him with some kind of 'download syringe.' Suspecting treachery, he initially moves to rip Starscream's head off, but once outfitted in Earth togs, the Decepticon commander turns his attention to the Mini-Cons and kids, who have just arrived on the scene.

The Mini-Cons and kids, after having gotten some attention, drive off with Starscream and Cyclonus in hot pursuit. The chase scene ends when the assorted group runs into Optimus Prime and Scavenger, who make quick work of the two Decepticons. The victory party is cut short by the arrival of Megatron in tank mode...
Remarks
Okay, this is somewhat enjoyable - it's certainly a step up from the last issue, though that isn't saying much. Thankfully, the kids have their screen time cut down, but when you have a full page devoted to them arguing, there is still a problem.

The Autobot arrival is okay, if only because it's nice to see Smokescreen rib Red Alert a little. Unfortunately, it forces us to endure the 'angry' Prime that harms all of Sarracini's work. The initial chase by Megatron is also okay, but I'm a little dissappointed that he didn't simply go through the tunnel. Oh well.

Starscream is a surprising source of amusement this issue, as he acts like a smart-arse the entire time. Armada nicely uses him as an irritant and plays off his G1 reputation to give a nice feel to the character.

Raiz's art is still a source of goodness this issue, but some of the poses look a little odd, like when Optimus blows his top. And he still needs to work on his humans. Throughout the issue they look pasted on and a bit too... shiny?
Character development
Optimus Prime is once again burdened with the anger problems that marred his early Dreamwave G1 appearances. He gets very upset at Smokescreen's suggestion of brute force, but at least he calms down quickly enough. He also lays down the law of stealth and avoiding contact with humans. That last part is going to change quick.

Megatron is very much his typical self this issue. He threatens to use Sparkplug and co as decorations on his throne and wants to tear the kids into pieces. Hard to argue on the last one. He shows an interesting fondness for his Earth form and that is probably the reason he didn't rip Starscream's head off after being stabbed by the syringe.

Smokescreen is not one for stealth and suggests to Prime that they just tear through the place in order to find the Mini-Cons. He definitely considers Cybertron a priority over Earth. He is quick to apologise when Prime puts on his 'angry' face and he also likes to rib Red Alert a little. He's also homesick already and weary, saying "We've been battlin' these Decepticons for so long... I just want things back the way they were."

Starscream shows himself to be a sly little bastard. He isn't perturbed when Megatron angrily calls for an update on his status. He also isn't worried when Megatron grabs him by the throat after he'd stabbed the Decepticon leader. He acts very cool when Megatron calls him ungrateful and backstabbing and is not afraid to call Megatron a paranoid fool. A rather nice bluff by Sarracini, playing off the treachery of the G1 Starscream.

Scavenger is of the same mind as Smokescreen in regards to Earth and refers to Cybertron as the priority. Prime also refers to him and Smokescreen as 'warriors', saying: "It is in your programming to consider force before logic."

Cyclonus thinks that humans carry an awful stench.

The Mini-Cons blend together this issue (damn kids) and show the same desire to explain things to Alexis and provide transport by downloading vehicles. They also are willing to risk themselves by leading the Decepticons away from the city.

The kids haven't changed since last issue as Alexis is still suspicious, Rad still jumps to the Mini-Cons defence and Carlos acts as the mediator. Still, they were brave enough to confront Megatron and the Decepticons.
Trivia
When taking on non-Cybertronian vehicle forms, all that is required is a simple 'download' using a scanning beam built into the Transformer or a syringe. This is something of a contrast to the rather time-consuming re-formatting required by the G1 sect.

Also, the 'downloading' process seems designed to suit the original Transformer physiology rather than to more completely adapt the Cybertronian to the new environment.

The space bridge pops in Transformers with a bit of a mild flash. According to Hot Shot, it also tickles.

Cyclonus is capable of extending a hand while in vehicle mode.

Starscream mentions that he loves visiting new planets, suggesting that he's been off-world before.

Formatting into an Earth vehicle causes Sparkplug to lose the Bumblebee-esque horns he had (pretty confusing for readers who'd just got used to the way he looked before).
Good quotes
"When I get my hands on you now, I'll do much more than rewire your circuits... I'm going to remove your legs and use them to decorate my throne!" Megatron.

"I hope you've enjoyed the view. I promise it will be your last." Megatron.

Smokescreen - "Don't worry Red Alert, it wasn't your voice that scared them." Red Alert - "Thanks." Smokescreen - "Just your face."

"It won't be so bad Mini-Cons! We can even take your new friends back with us to Cybertron... PIECE BY PIECE!" Megatron.
Bad quotes
"This isn't just about us anymore! The whole neighbourhood's in danger!" Carlos.
Mistakes
In what is probably lawsuit material, it looks like Carlos gets coloured white on one page.
Story rating
4 star
Art rating
6 star
Media
Reviewed by
bobaprime85

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